Lewis Black, Akamai, Mobile Rider to Re-invent Improv

July 8th, 2014 by · Leave a Comment

In one of today’s more interesting announcements, Akamai has a new customer and it’s a comedian.  Well okay, it’s a comedian’s production company, but still.   Lewis Black, one of my favorite performers, has tapped Mobile Rider and Akamai to help him hook the world up to his ‘The Rant Is Due” event this weekend.  

One of the things I am always looking for with new technologies is the point at which people start actually doing totally new things with them, as opposed to rehashing old things with new technology.   When VoIP came out with all the hype back in 2004 it shook things up but then fizzled for five years until the new capabilities of unified communications started getting real traction with businesses and enterprises.  Likewise, streaming video has enabled new means of consumption with on-demand, mobile devices, and binge viewing and all that.  But while social media lets us share it everywhere with a click, the content we’re actually watching hasn’t really evolved into anything new.  For that, though, it’s not up to technology but to the folks that make content.  And I think they’ve been trying to figure out what to do

Akamai and Mobile Rider will be helping Lewis Black to perhaps create a fully interactive improv event, a two-way street where the audience can participate in real time in the comedian’s routine.  And by that I do not mean a new twitter hashtag.  In addition to the usual CDN/streaming bag of tricks, they’ll have apps to take suggestions and deliver them to Black’s tablet on stage, from which he will presumably choose topics to riff on.  If done well, it could be quite interesting.  On the other hand, I suspect it may be hard to really do well.  The great thing about non-interactive content from the artist’s perspective is the fact that most of the audience is not worth listening to.

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